A study by the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recommends that bumpers on SUVs should be lowered since they fail to prevent damage to smaller cars in crash tests.
The IIHS study observed that combined estimated-damage costs for an SUV hitting the rear of a stopped car at 10 miles per hour ranged from $2,995 to $7,444, and for a car into an SUV it was $3,601 to $9,867. Bumpers are designed to prevent damage from low-speed crashes.
According to IIHS, U.S. regulations require all cars to have rear and front bumpers that protect within a zone of 16 inches to 20 inches (406mm to 508mm) from the ground.
However, the rules don't apply to SUVs. Chief administrative officer for IIHS John Nolan says that instead of bumpers hitting each other and bumping, "you wind up with costly crashes."
IIHS conducted front-into-rear crash tests of seven pairs of 2010-11 models, each pair consisting of an SUV and a car to determine if bumpers reduce damages in crashes of different-sized vehicles from the same manufacturer.
Nolan said that the smallest SUV from each automaker was used because the group had tested larger SUVs in similar experiments with the same results. [via autonews - sub. required]